KOHTLA-JÄRVE, Estonia , July 20, 2021 (Press Release) -Viru Keemia Grupp (VKG) is initiating a local government special spatial plan intending to explore the possibilities of establishing a modern bioproducts production complex in Ida-Viru County to create added value for pulpwood generated in Estonia and produce bioproducts and renewable energy. The expected volume of investments is 800 million euros and production would start to operate in 2026 at the earliest.
According to VKG’s Chairman of Management Board, Ahti Asmann, Estonia needs a modern bioproducts production complex for adding value to pulpwood and Ida-Viru County has the prerequisites for establishing such a complex. “The establishment of a bioproducts complex would boost the diversity of the Estonian and Ida-Viru economy and the fulfilment of environmental goals while meeting the ever-increasing global demand for bioproducts,” Asmann said, adding that the establishment of the complex would constitute a leap in the value addition of wood in Estonia, partly also replacing the current export and burning of wood.
VKG wishes to plan the establishment of the modern bioproducts complex in close cooperation with the local community. “To ensure the mapping and inclusion of the interests of the community in the best way, we have decided to make a proposal to Lüganuse rural municipality to initiate a local government special spatial plan,” Ahti Asmann said. As possible locations, VKG envisions places in the immediate vicinity of its current production territory which is not close to any residential areas.
According to Lüganuse rural municipality governor Andrea Eiche, any plans that contribute to the development of Ida-Viru County are welcome, particularly in the light of the Green Revolution. The creation of 250 direct jobs in the region is extremely important in this context. The rural municipality will process the special spatial plan as prescribed by law. “The entire process must definitely take place in dialogue with the community,” Andres Eiche commented.
As raw materials, the production complex will produce dissolving pulp, pulp, tall oil and renewable energy, bio-fertilisers and growth promoters. As for end products, the complex will produce raw materials for various fabrics (viscose fabric) for the textile industry, as well as bioplastics and additives for the paint, solvent, pharmaceutical, cosmetics and food industries. The development of the bioproducts complex will also open a possibility to produce both biofuels and specialised chemistry product groups: plasticisers, binding agents, phenols, polyesters, hydrogels, antioxidants, etc. Depending on the product and raw material, the production volume would be 330,000 to 500,000 tonnes a year.
As a bonus, the establishment of the production complex would according to preliminary estimates increase the generation of renewable energy in Estonia by 730 GWh a year, of which half would be sold to the free market. Green heating energy would be used for supplying district heating to the cities of Kohtla-Järve and Jõhvi.
VKG estimates that the expected volume of investments is up to 800 million euros and the establishment of the complex would create 250 new well-paid jobs, with at least another 1,000 new indirect jobs in the overall production chain.
The future production would use the flexible KRAFT technology which is the best available technique (BAT) for the chemical processing of wood pulp.
The planned complex will comply with the strictest European Union environmental requirements concerning both air purity and water treatment and use. The complex plans to use water pumped from the Ojamaa Mine, 12.5 million m3 a year. The purified water, the quality of which meets the BAT levels, will be discharged to the Gulf of Finland via a planned water treatment plant and the existing collector.
VKG has conducted preliminary environmental studies for analysing the idea and the Nordic consultation firm AFRY has performed a preliminary feasibility study.